Ann Ward, founder of Xhale has a deep spiritual connection with nature. She inherited her great love of the landscape from her mother, whose birthplace was on the volcanic mountain of Slieve Gullion, nestled in between a number of sacred sites. Ann has practiced meditation for over 20 years. As a result, she has created immersive, mindfulness experiences, courses and retreats using the gifts of meditation and the landscape.
Ann is an Accredited Meditation Teacher with the British School of Meditation, a Certified Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing) Guide and Forest Therapy Practitioner with the Forest Therapy Institute. Her teaching practice is drawn from a number of ancient Eastern traditions and contemporary sources including Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Ann has a rich tapestry of experience within the health, community development and peace-building, arts, education and private sectors. Personal empowerment is at the heart of all of her work where she offers transformative experiences and programmes tailored for individuals, groups and organisations.
A recent participants review... ‘Slieve Gullion is a haven and was the perfect place for this retreat. It was an additional bonus that Ann provided a wealth of knowledge about the landscape, a highlight was Ann’s facilitation and enabling me to enter a totally immersive nature experience, nature nourishing body and spirit. It is impossible to single out any one thing as it was the complete package that made it so magical, calming and restorative, warm, glowing, connected, secret smile, supported. I particularly loved using the senses to explore nature and concentrating on one sense at a time allows me to experience aspects of nature in finer detail. Ann, I can’t thank you enough for enabling me to be on this wonderful immersion in nature and a deep reconnection that I was so overdue. Thanks for bringing relaxation, calmness and mindfulness back to me again, I needed it!’ ...Mary from Belfast
Nurturing Nature Retreat at Killeavy Castle Estate - To Rest, Reconnect and Re-energise
This restorative relaxation break is an opportunity for you to totally switch off, slow down and reconnect with nature. You will experience the Japanese wellness practice of Shinrin Yoku/ Forest Bathing and take home a taste of the landscape as well as the special holistic benefits of the practice. This special nurturing, nature retreat will take place in the majestic setting of Killeavy Castle Estate, within 350 acres of woodland and farmland. This is nestled at the foot of the volcanic mountain of Slieve Gullion within the magical Ring of Gullion, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Our Restorative Relaxation Break includes
- Relax during 2 nights within the forest environment, in a superior room at the boutique Hotel at Killeavy Castle Estate
- Enjoy home grown, local and seasonal produce during your dining experience which has a farm to fork ethos:
- 2 course lunch on arrival and on day 2
- 7 course Taste of Killeavy Dining Experience on first evening
- 3 course dinner in the bar on second evening
- 2 leisurely breakfasts on day 2 and 3
After lunch Holistic Guide, Ann will welcome you to your first 2 hour forest immersion. She will offer you a number of creative invitations including mindfulness meditation, to support you to deepen your connection with nature through your senses. Forest Bathing/Shinrin-Yoku is an evidence- based wellness practice which evolved in Japan as a stress prevention intervention. 2 hours in the forest boosts your immunity for up to 10 days; it also boosts, mood, energy and nurtures creativity. You will taste this special landscape during a tea ceremony as part of this experience in the forest with tea especially prepared with herbs and plants from the Estate. Then time to chill out before your dinner. Enjoy the Hotel’s complimentary thermal facilities or enjoy the tranquillity of the beautiful grounds of the Estate.
After a leisurely breakfast, Ann will invite you on your second forest bathing immersion. Ann will continue to support you to switch off, allowing your mind to rest and to deepen your connection with nature. You will experience more of the holistic gifts of this wellness practice. We will celebrate this immersion with a tea ceremony with a special home-made Estate tea. Relax with a 1-hour Spa treatment of your choice, rest in thermal facilities and chill out before dinner
After breakfast, enjoy a Forest tea-making workshop with Head Chef Darragh, using seasonal herbs and flowers from the working farm. Check-out from the Hotel with your own unique blend of Killeavy Estate tea, bringing a taste of the forest and its holistic benefits home with you.
Upcoming Events in 2021
Summer: 10 and 12 May | Autumn: 13 and 15 September | Winter: 15 and 17 November
From £330 per person (prices are based on two people sharing). Book through the offers sections of the website of calling the Hotel on +44 (0)28 3044 4888